Tying Performance Management to Company Goals

Great Leaders know how to create a culture for teams to succeed. One aspect of that culture is learning how to effectively use data to enhance overall performance. Over the course of my past several blogs I have been stressing the importance of living and breathing data, using information to document impact, drive internal and external system change, and inspire donors.

David Ostberg, Director of People Science and Performance at Culture Amp, discusses goal setting in a recent article. He stresses the importance of clarity in goal setting and I could not agree more. He states “Clarity is the foundation of effective goal setting and it enables leaders to tie goals to employee performance. It’s necessary to be specific about the long and short-term objectives you expect your teams to achieve.”

In my experience the more specific the goals, the better the organization’s overall performance. As such it is critical to be specific about the following:

• What is the specific goal and how is it tied to organizational goals?

• What are the team member’s specific and delineated responsibilities to achieve the goals?

• Who else outside the team will contribute to success? How have they been engaged?

• What are the measurements of success company-wide and individually?

• How frequently will reporting occur? What is the framework for reporting? Is it understood? Are the reports structured so that they are easily understood? We are using green-yellow-red at The Fedcap Group to indicate goal achievement. One glance provides a great deal of information and drilling down into the reports tells a more granular story.

• How will we recognize progress and celebrate wins?

• What are the milestone dates we need to hit along the way?

When goals are clearly stated, and mechanisms for measurement are defined and commonly understood, it becomes much easier to assess employee performance by tailoring day-to-day work expectations to the goals. This process, called cascading goals, ensures that employees understand exactly what the organization is focused on and how their work contributes to the achievement of goals.

Aligning and managing company, team and individual goals achieves several critical things:

• Everyone understands where the company is headed and their role in its overall success.

• There is a greater willingness to hold one another accountable – as success and individual performance are interwoven.

• There is a transparency in the efforts and in the outcomes that levels the playing field.

• It makes it easier for leaders to assess strong performers and those who need additional support to succeed. It also makes it clear where there may be talent gaps in the team.

• It provides opportunities for authentic celebration.

Performance reviews that are aligned to company goals set the state for professional and personal development of all members of the organization. Everyone can see how they contribute to the whole and they can play an active role in ensuring that employees identify new knowledge, skills, and abilities to pursue and the learning resources needed to reach specific goals tied to organizational needs.

I welcome your thoughts!